Tag Archives: wonder

2; two, his advent, his coming

3 Dec

2 Corinthians 9:15 ‘Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!’

Paul is always attempting to describe his experiences with the Lord. From his fall on the road to Damascus to his immediate blindness; from his journeys to Jerusalem, Corinth, Colossi etc.; to his stay in Arabia restudying the scriptures. In all his letters, his writings and his speeches, Paul seeks to describe the indescribable: the gift of the gospel – Jesus’ coming as both the the proclaimer and the proclamation, the gospel made flesh itself.

People respond to this indescribable gospel in many different ways. For example, some, when approached by the idea of a miraculous birth, are stuck mute ( Zechariah in Luke 1 ) while others sing as the Angels of Bethlehem’s fields. Some see those being released from demon possession as a miracle, while others see the work to the evil one himself. ( Matthew 12: 22-28 )

The good news of the gospel evokes then many diverse reactions, from fisherman immediately leaving their nets to angels stopping down from the heavens to reflect continually ( 1 Peter 1: 12 Weymouth New Testament )

But, what about the messenger? the proclaimer? As Jesus handles the precious gift of the gospel, his words and his actions; his heart and mind; and even His physical body, reveal essential attributes of the gospel, the gift . As Jesus answers John the Baptist’s disciples when they ask, Are you the one?

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:

This is how Jesus reveals, proclaims the gospel: by His actions and His words. He is both messenger and the message at the same moment.

And Luke tells us how Jesus views both His mission and the good news of the gospel, ( 4 )

40 ‘ At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak,because they knew he was the Messiah.

42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.’

On this, His first journey after being tempted by the evil one in the desert and then rejected and driven out of his hometown, Jesus moves on. And His moving, His unstoppable coming journeys reveal the gospel: God so loved the world He must proclaim the Kingdom of love and mercy to all.

In Capernaum and surrounding towns Jesus heals at sunset; and He prays at the sunrise in a solitary space. He is at His Father’s, and their collective works: loving us.

We both are the receivers of the indescribable gift of the Gospel and the transformed of the gift. That is whom the angels stoop to see: us, living out the good news. And Capernaum’s people show us power of indescribable gift. They never want to see their gift leave.

Now, instead of threatening and driving Jesus away, the peoples come to Him and try to restrain Jesus from leaving them. And how does Jesus respond to outpouring, this overflow of love? He leaves. Why? He tells them,

“I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

Jesus must leave this love feast because his mission is to proclaim. He must go. I am sure that his leaving was one of his daybreak prayer concerns. It is hard, so hard to leave those who love you, especially after trials and rejections. But leave Jesus must.

His proclaiming the good news of His, of our Kingdom, is why He was sent. The indescribable gift of the gospel is both the proclaimer and the message. And both have to be sent out. And to us. So,

44 “And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.”

Jesus’ words are still read and taught; still mediated on and spoken aloud.

So is his life. Why?

Because ‘ he kept on ‘. He kept on giving, giving, living, the Gospel. Even to the cross where he died for it, for us.

My prayer: daily my Lord, help me to see more, to stoop down deeper, into understanding the indescribable…

Our life with Him; the Gospel.

Matthew 11: 15 ‘He who has ears, yet him hear.’

Advent Wonder 2021, reflection 2, ‘his coming’ – the suffering warrior

26 Nov
Magi

Jesus’ coming was a living and troubling paradox for the people of his time. Was he to be a great warrior king who comes to lead? Or was the Messiah to be a servant who teaches, heals and loves as he serves?

Peoples of the Mid East, those belonging to the Magi’s Asian country, the Greeks, the Romans, all believed in warrior Messiahs, all powerful Gods. In principle, their common belief was that an all powerful King/priest would appear and lead all to a safe place, a kingdom, of righteousness and peace.

The Magi are exemplars of such a belief. ( Matthew 2 )A group of scholars who studied skies and ancient scrolls as their family and community directed for centuries, believed that a great warrior king from the heavens would come to earth to be worshipped as the chosen to make all wrongs right.

The Old Testament describes such a warrior king in paradox, as both a warrior and a suffering servant: ( Isaiah 42:13 “The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.”

But Isaiah also depicts a suffering servant as Messiah – ( “he was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” Isaiah 53: 12 ).

How can a Saviour Messiah be both warrior and a servant? Jesus shows us how at the beginning of his ministry in his hometown Nazareth’s synagogue, ( from Luke 4 )

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captive and recovering of sight to the blind to set at liberty those who are oppressed,19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth….

Jesus boldly picks up Isaiah’s scroll and reads the prophetic description of a Messiah who will come to heal, to make wrongs right, and to proclaim the year of Jubilee, of favour.

Here,as a warrior teacher, Jesus then follows his reading by sitting and breathing these words, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Speaking his words with Isaiah’s can only be heard, seen as Jesus laying claim to being the Messiah. But what type of Messiah? The text describing the people’s reactions reveals the, this Saviour’s nature:

At first the people of his hometown are excited and in awe at his words. But when his words challenge their past understanding of the warrior Messiah, their hearts and minds reverse from awe to anger,

….all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.”

Such a Saviour, such a Messiah, wars against brokenness by speaking with truth- the whole complete truth: the saviour will suffer and heal; the saviour will be a lamb before the slaughter and a zealous might warrior; our saviour will come as the word made flesh: the way, the truth, the light …

And he does it by risking rejection and brokenness himself. He does it to be experiencing death and resurrection.

He comes to complete and solve our greatest paradox: by dying in belief, I live. From everlasting to everlasting, I will live with Him.

my prayer: come this 2021 Advent to us, to me, again my Jesus; deepen my understanding of how your love answers all paradoxes.

Come my Jesus, come.